Cambium Networks’ Enterprise Pivot Is Paving The Way For Channel Momentum

Since acquiring Xirrus last year, Cambium Networks has pushed further into the enterprise and is opening the door for brand-new partner opportunities around IoT, remote and outdoor connectivity along the way, executives told CRN.

Since making its debut on the stock exchange and acquiring Xirrus last summer, wireless specialist Cambium Networks has been launching new products and heavily investing in the channel. Business has been booming ever since, according to Cambium executives.

The 100 percent channel-focused company is always motivated to make tools and resources available to its partners, Scott Imhoff, Cambium‘s vice president of product management, told CRN. As such, the firm has upgraded its partner portal and rolled out a software tool for comparing deployment options, a Wi-Fi 6 starter kit, and more channel marketing and inside sales resources to help its channel to go after more enterprise business.

Cambium Networks, which operates in 154 countries through about 6,800 channel partners, went public in June 2019. In August 2019, the company acquired Xirrus Wi-Fi products and cloud services from Riverbed Technology, which originally acquired Xirrus in 2017.

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[Related: Cambium Networks And Xirrus: Now An Enterprise Wireless Option]

Cambium first went to market as a solution for telecoms and internet service providers, but the addition of Xirrus has made Cambium‘s wireless technology even more of an option for the enterprise. The firm in July announced new Wi-Fi 6 products along with 60 GHz solutions that will be available later this summer aimed at providing multi-gigabit last mile connectivity for a lower cost, a critical feature as the COVID-19 pandemic is still forcing business and school closures and sending employees and students to work from home, the company said.

The Rolling Meadows, Ill.-based company has been actively courting partners as its made its enterprise pivot, bringing on about 5,000 partners over the past three years, said Ron Ryan, senior vice president of global channel management at Cambium.

“We‘ve really felt like now with the convergence of our ISP market and with our 60 GHz and Wi-Fi 6 offering, we really had a story to tell to attract more partners,” Ryan said. ”We’re now finding partners on the enterprise side that are very much interested in our 60 GHz product.”

Because of its strong access portfolio and the rising need for secure bandwidth, Cambium was “in the right place at the right time” at the start of the pandemic, Ryan said.

“We fully expected we‘d see a decline on the Wi-Fi side, however, it didn’t turn out to be as big as expected, and now we see the potential for acceleration. We’ve been able to really see where the demand has been and we have a big opportunity to provide the right technologies,” he said.

Partners are learning how to keep their businesses going by putting together connectivity solutions for their clients, regardless of whether they are working off the enterprise campus, at home, or even outside, Imhoff said.

“Many partners are re-inventing themselves in some ways, to bring the signal to a different place than they have been accustomed to,” he said.

Solution provider giant JENNE, a new Cambium partner, has a “strategic” relationship with Cambium compared to some of its other vendor relationships, said Vince Piccolomini, senior vice president of operations and alliances for the Avon, Ohio-based company.

Specifically, Cambium‘s solutions fill a gap in JENNE’s portfolio around outside enterprise networking and connectivity -- an opportunity for JENNE to offer something outside of the enterprise’s four walls, which has come in especially handy as the COVID-19 pandemic forced many businesses to close or carry out operations outside of their businesses or shops, Piccolomini said. “We can now take our partners outside of where they were delivering services and expand their opportunities. There’s so many connected devices now that you have to take the network to where the devices are,” he said. ”And the environment around COVID-19 and work from home has changed a lot of environments, so we’re seeing a growth in different types of applications -- like pop-up service centers from large to small.”

Cambium‘s updated partner portal contains marketing tools that previously weren’t available to the channel, including direct campaigns, webinars, and ways to promote under the partners’ own brand, Cambium’s Ryan said.

Compared to the competition, Cambium has a “robust” partner portal with plenty of channel-friendly tools, JENNE‘s Piccolomini said. ”Cambium has a lot of different vertical applications that [partners] can roll right into their proposals,” he added.

The revamped portal is helping new partners discover and find use cases for almost every customer situation, as well as the trainings they need to help them build that new business, Ryan said.

“When you add the power of the products we have out now with a robust channel program that allows them to make money, protects them, and supports them all the way through, it’s a pretty powerful message. When you consider where Cambium is in the competitive landscape, I think it really gives [partners] an advantage.“